Next cuts sick pay for self-isolating unvaccinated staff
Fashion retail giant Next has cut sick pay for unvaccinated staff who have to self-isolate because of exposure to Covid-19.
Next is understood to have ruled that any unjabbed worker who is not infected but is self-isolating will only receive statutory sick pay. A number of retailers in other categories and companies synth wider business community have started bringing in such policies.
The retailer, which employs around 44,000 people, is said to have introduced the measure after recently seeing a sharp rise in staff absences due to the Omicron variant.
It admitted it was an "emotive topic" but had decided to dock pay to protect the needs of its staff and shareholders after experiencing higher than expected absences for this time of year.
Next said it will continue to pay full sick pay to unvaccinated workers if they test positive for the virus.
Delivery firm Ocado and furniture giant Ikea are also among employers making similar moves, as staff absences rise.
Next currently pays store sales consultants and stock assistants between £6.55 and £9.21 an hour and warehouse operatives between £9.30 and £11.26 an hour.
But unvaccinated workers who are required to isolate could now receive the Statutory Sick Pay minimum, which could be as little as £96.35 a week, unless there are mitigating circumstances.
Last month, official self-isolation guidance was relaxed for people who have been jabbed, meaning they do not need to isolate if they have been exposed to a positive case.
But there was no change to the guidance for unvaccinated close contacts.
Many companies faced labour shortages in 2021 and some are now are seeing mass absences due to the more infectious Omicron Covid strain.
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